With spring comes the year’s most active real estate buying time, which coincides with mortgage rates at or near record low levels. Homebuyers in the St. Petersburg-Tampa area are asking themselves how to find the best mortgage broker. Here are some tips on securing the financing you need to get into your new home.
- Shop your bank and credit union. Your already have a checking account or saving account, so you have a track record with your bank or credit union. Find out what rates and terms they offer.
- Check with Bankrate.com. This site will provide you with a variety of lenders and the rates they’re offering. You want to find the best deal, and the company that will provide the best customer service.
- Ask friends. Word of mouth is some of the best marketing available. Check with your friends, or even potential neighbors to see what mortgage providers they used and how they were treated. And always ask about any unexpected costs they had to cover.
- Remember that the mortgage market rates can change daily. Rates are a product of the marketplace, so check several sources for the best deal.
- Be cautious. Loan representatives, from time to time, will unfortunately try to lure you into their office with claims of lower than real rates, promises to cover closing costs, etc. Drive your mortgage bus. Interview lenders, and choose one that can provide you with the best terms and that you can trust.
- Consider a quality mortgage broker. If you’re buying a home with a sale price below $150,000 (defined as “affordable housing”), finding a lender can be difficult. Think about contacting an experienced mortgage broker who can offer loans from different sources. Be aware that brokers may have access to rates better than what you can find on your own.
- Rely on your real estate agent. Experienced agents will have access to a variety of lenders with whom they’ve worked over the years. When meeting with a prospective lender, inquire about their experience, who will approve your application, who will underwrite your loan, whether the lender can close the loan on time and ask for a Good Faith Estimate of all fees to close.
Chris Hounchell & Associates is the leader in general real estate, pre-foreclosure, short sale and foreclosure markets in the Pinellas County area. For more information on buying vs. renting, contact Chris today at 727-642-9107.